Changing dog walking, one coffee at a time

There’s an enterprising man around these parts called Jamie Karitzis. He struck on an excellent idea. A pop-up van selling coffee, tea and various other hot drinks, sitting by a park entrance where you know lots of dog walkers frequent. For an ex-dancer and then stuntman, making coffee for dog walkers is a bit of a leap but what a brilliant idea.

I happened to be passing today, on my way to Kate’s for the dogs haircuts. And the day was perfect, with a chill in the air and the sun in the sky. As long as you stuck to the all-weather path, you would avoid getting stuck in the mud.

On the way there, I wasn’t too bothered about the girls going off-piste but, walking back with them looking all beautiful and bouffant-ed, I was constantly urging them to “Stay on the path!” Something they seem to actually understand, although they think it only lasts for about 30 seconds.

Actually, they were complimented on their obedience on the way to Kate. A squalling baby was behind us at one stage, and I stepped beside a bench to let it by. As I did, I pointed at the bench and both of my girls hopped up, sat down and watched as the stroller and two women went by.

One woman had a cockerpoo, and she was full of delight and praise for how well-behaved Emma and Freya were. We then discussed how they were small for cockerpoos (hers was bigger) something I usually get. In fact, on the way home, having grabbed a wonderful coffee from Jamie, a couple with a baby asked if they were cockerpoos and when I said yes, they said “They’re a lot smaller than ones I’ve seen before.

I reckon they are the perfect size. Any bigger and I couldn’t fit both of them on my lap. And it would make it harder for Kate to pick them up, one under each arm, in order to get them into her dog cutting parlour.

As usual, they were very reluctant to follow her through her back gate. Also as usual, they were more than happy once they realised where they were, leaping onto her table and waiting for attention.

All in all, I had a lot of walking though, in order to reduce it by one trip, I caught the bus back after dropping them off. I also had to buy a couple of things for dinner so the fact that Tesco is about five minutes from Kate’s new house and that there’s a bus stop right outside Tesco, it was a no-brainer.

Obviously, the fact that I have my free bus pass, had nothing to do with it.

Actually, next to the bus stop is a small church I’d never seen before. It’s St Marks, Alma Lane, Upper Hale and was built in 1883. It’s Grade II listed and, apparently, there are some impressive frescos inside dating from the early 20th century and painted by Kitty Milroy. Sadly, the church wasn’t open, so I didn’t get to see them. You can view them on Google Maps by clicking here.

Oh, and there’s a monthly craft market the third Saturday of every month.

And that took care of most of my day – the walking back and forth and back again to Kate. At least the weather was beautiful and, naturally, I wasn’t the only person enjoying the park. There were quite a few other people and almost all of them were happy and smiling and ready with a ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ as I walked by them.

One odd thing I spotted on my final trip was a network of spider webs sprawled across the grass for as far as the eye could see. It was only visible when the sun was directly behind it and only because the sun was so low on the horizon but, when it was visible, it was incredible.

I took a photo then had to crop it to see the webs. The photo isn’t that good, but it gives an impression of what it looked like.

It’s something I’ve never seen before, and they covered the entire area. Amazing.

Oh, and you can follow Jamie on Instagram (@StableAndGround) and Facebook. Obviously, given I don’t like Facebook, I won’t link to them. But I’m sure anyone who really wants to, will be able to find Jamie.

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